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Jill Welch Photography/Look Great in Pictures/ Columbus GA Photographer/Columbus GA Wedding Photographer

June 29, 2011

Please join Jill Welch Photography at the Weddings of Georgia Bridal Show at the Columbus Trade Works and Convention Center in historic downtown Columbus, GA on Sunday, July 10 from 12:30-4:30 pm

When we were asked to shoot the 40-year class reunion of  Columbus, Georgia’s Hardaway and Columbus High Schools I simply could not refuse because I am a CHS alumnus myself.  I won’t reveal the year (hint: not quite up to 40 just yet), but I do admit that I am looking forward to a happy, giddy assemblage of my own former besties when the invitation arrives in the mail.

How can I describe what I saw?  Lots and lots of hugging,  more surprised looks than you’d find at a taping of Comedy Central, couples who actually began their lives together in high school and were still holding hands and enjoying one another, secret glances that wreaked havoc on my imagination, and tears of sorrow as the names of those who had been lost were announced and mourned.

The food?  The Green Island Country Club turned out heaping pans of barbecued pork loin, perfect friend chicken, baked beans, southern potato salad, pies, and hot cobblers a la mode.  It was a good night.

Roll on down and you will find the easiest post I’ve written so far about weddings and photography:  advice from yours truly on how to look your best and enjoy any photography session– from family portraits to the most important moments you’ll ever spend in front of a camera – your wedding day.  And for a fitting example of a picture perfect bride, click here

Please subscribe!  There may be a Starbucks gift card in your future.  And take a moment to cruise previous posts, at left, for many more useful tips on planning your wedding.

Columbus GA event photographer

How to Pull Off a Great Photography Session and Love the Results

Unfortunately, very few people think to ask me (or their photographer) how to prepare for a photo session.  There are specific things you can do to ensure that all of your images are exactly what you envisioned.

1.  Dress the Part. 

How many old photographs have been hidden in a drawer because the subjects are dressed like they just stepped off the set of Seinfeld or Miami Vice?  Choose clothing that is timeless and classic, and avoid  super trendy pieces or “theme” clothing like camouflage.  I love Old Navy as much as the next girl, but cargo shorts and clogs will only make your children gag when they grow up and yourself wonder if you were planning a safari or trip to the Netherlands the week  you sat for a portrait.  Solid colors work best, as well as small prints and designs.  Coordinate everyone’s colors to blend or even match.  And never, ever wear a store’s logo across your chest – I assure you there will be no royalties paid for the free advertisement and it will only distract from your smiling face.

Brides:  ditto, above.  Think about how you will look in pictures when choosing your dress and accessories.   Outlandish clothes and colors are a fun touch, but if you must wear them, choose items that can be removed for formal pictures.  Think princesses Beatrice and Eugenie – cute girls, cool Dr. Seuss hats, but no commoner should look silly or goofy in formals at such a life-defining event as her very own wedding.

2.  Collect Samples of Your Vision.

A good photographer has a specific image in mind that she wishes to capture every time she shoots – and you should too.  Do you see yourself and your family in a carefree, relaxed pose, or are you aiming for a formal look?  There is no right or wrong answer.  Outdoor, lifestyle photographers such as myself choose to capture subjects in a natural setting, like a park or waterfront area, and prefer to shoot while they are walking, playing, or relaxing on a bench.   Formal  portraits can be shot outdoors or indoors in a studio, and the photographer precisely places each individual in the picture.  Surf the internet, magazines, and photographers’ websites for ideas and present them to your photographer before the shoot.

Brides:  There are oodles of online sites with endless galleries of wedding pictures such as Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Project Wedding.   Start a scrapbook of your vision for your wedding pictures and be sure to show your photographer.  Many times you can click on an image and print a tiny thumbnail, which is just enough to “collect” and  stimulate your memory.  And of course a stack of the latest bridal magazines with a Starbucks in hand will always point you in the right direction.

3.  Schedule the right time for pictures.

Most photographers who work outdoors will schedule you for a morning or late afternoon session to take advantage of soft sunlight at those times.  Not a morning person?  Or are you an early riser who runs out of steam by mid-afternoon?  Are you well rested on the weekend or is that your busiest, most stressful time of the week?  One of the most important keys to a successful session is happy, compliant, energetic subjects.  Determine a time that you will actually enjoy having your picture taken and stick with it – even if that means you must schedule your session months in advance.  And make sure everyone is well fed and the kids have napped – a post session bribe of ice cream doesn’t  hurt, either.

Brides :  I cannot emphasize this enough:  please schedule a separate bridal or couple session for the most awesome,  creative and artistic images of you and your husband.  I have photographed several weddings that have started late for various reasons or the bride was delayed at the hair salon and there simply wasn’t enough time to do the photography justice.  Also, other factors could infringe upon your photography time like weather conditions for outdoor shoots (too hot, too cold, raining, someone decides to park a tractor trailer truck in front of the church.)  Indoor sessions can be compromised if lighting is inadequate or there are few or no attractive areas in the venue.   Some couples even opt to stay around a day after the wedding for a longer, more relaxed photography session in their wedding attire at a scenic location.

4.  Choose your photographer wisely.

Most of us these days are price shoppers.   Do consider other factors when choosing the person who will capture your family’s smiles, gestures, and personalities for you and future generations to enjoy and reflect upon.  Insist on meeting the photographer in person – is she friendly, easy-going, willing to answer questions and give advice?   Ask what is included in the session fee – will you receive prints, a CD, an online gallery?  How long will the session last?  Ask to see examples of her work in print form, not just internet images.  Can she provide references?  Does she use professional equipment?  (Most professionals are more than willing to brag about what they shoot and how many lenses they’ve collected.)  Does she carry insurance in case there’s an accident during the shoot?   Remember, it’s a tad bit of trouble to assemble your family for a couple of hours of photography, and that’s after you’ve shopped for clothes, invested time and money at the salon, and coaxed your husband into agreeing to the session to begin with.  Never buy what you can’t afford, but do tuck away extra money for a few months if that’s what you need to hire the best photographer.

Brides:  make triple sure that you and your photographer hit if off.  This person will spend as much as 8-10  hours right by your side on your wedding day.  Budget enough for a good photographer who shoots according to your vision; people will soon forget what type of  food you served or whether or not there was an open bar, but excellent pictures will be a permanent reminder of your day.  And most important:  do not, I repeat, do NOT try and save money by allowing Uncle Joe (who has  a “really nice camera”) to take your wedding pictures.   Wedding photography requires extensive experience and concentration,  professional equipment including the camera and several very high quality lenses,  a stack of memory cards, an external flash, and two of everything in case one malfunctions- two cameras, two flash units, at least two batteries, and two very strong legs to carry it all for eight hours.  If you feel you cannot afford a professional, postpone your date a bit until you are able to put aside enough money to cover photography and other absolute essentials.

Until next time,


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2011 4:28 am

    Really cool post, highly informative and professionally written..Good Job

  2. July 18, 2011 3:15 am

    I like this weblog very much, Its a really nice situation to read and receive information.


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